5 New TV Shows That Won’t Last Long

Each fall we see a crop of new TV shows littering the television landscape, and each year, surprisingly few survive long enough to make it to a renewal order in spring. While there are plenty of great shows being produced with real talent each year, there’s almost always an equal helping of questionably scripted and acted drivel to balance out all that good quality TV. Both good and bad TV shows are subject to the ax, inspired by low-ratings and little to no network confidence. We’re calling it now for these five recently premiered or upcoming television shows that likely won’t make it to season two.

1. Angel from Hell

Jane Lynch is a considerable comedic talent, but this effort from CBS to give her a headlining role in her own series is nothing more than an exercise in high-concept blandness. Lynch plays an unorthodox guardian angel for Maggie Lawson’s straight-man, blustering her way through a series of uninspired scenes that don’t have much comedic life to them except for what Lynch brings  and even she isn’t enough to elevate dialogue like that featured in Angel from Hell. After having been pushed to a January premiere from a more ideal fall premiere date, demonstrating a lack of confidence from CBS, Angel from Hell has already run afoul of conservative groups who claim it is anti-Christian. Morality issues aside, this is a series that will likely fail simply because of its own mediocrity. [Update, 2/17/16: Per Variety, the series has been effectively canceled after CBS replaced its 9:30 p.m. timeslot with ‘2 Broke Girls’.]

2. Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told proves that a show needn’t be high concept like Angel from Hell in order to be mediocre. The simple premise of this series based loosely on the life of executive producer DJ Nash follows two neighboring couples who do little more than hang out and live through the challenges of their everyday lives. The NBC series tries to make up for its low concept with an overused laugh track and tired observations on modern day racial issues, but it seems destined for failure. With new episodes unfortunately premiering on Friday, a bad day for new TV, Truth Be Told also suffered the lowest in-season debut of any NBC series ever, inspiring the network to cut its 13 episode original order down to ten. Three episodes might not seem like much, but it’s likely enough to spell the end for this series. [Update, 2/17/16: Per RenewCancelTV, the show was “quietly cancelled” by NBC late last year.]

3. Bordertown

Fox has a long history with adult animated series and with Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame, but the latest effort with MacFarlane as executive producer looks like nothing more but an ill-conceived flash in the pan. Featuring another blustering, fat white man as the series lead, Bordertown at least has the political hook of being set in a town on the Mexican border in the midst of a demographic change. It takes a deft hand to pull off political commentary long-term, and Bordertown most certainly doesn’t possess the kind of subtlety or cleverness to sustain its culture-clashing premise, as evidenced by the mostly negative critical reception. The first two episodes have received decent if not promising ratings, but it’s hard to imagine the series becoming a mainstay of the network’s long-running Sunday animation domination block.

4. Of Kings and Prophets

Of Kings and Prophets is the sort of series that will either be a major bomb or a major hit. The biblical soap opera focuses on characters of Israel lore such as Kings Saul and David as they struggle with their families and political rivals. Using the Bible as a backdrop for a series that showrunner Chris Brancato claims will be “violent and sex-drenched,” it seems that this is one show that might fail to find an audience on ABC, where Game of Thrones-esque explicit political drama might not go down so easy with viewers, especially Christian ones who might take offense to the questionable interpretations of biblical text. It doesn’t help the outlook that the series was pushed back to a midseason premiere in March due to creative issues.

5. The Player

Having already completed a shortened first season, cut to nine episodes from an original thirteen, The Player is due for scrapping any day now. The series fared poorly with reviewers and with audiences, at least partially due to its convoluted plotting, which can only be described as a Las Vegas-set crime drama concerning a security expert drawn into an FBI investigation with way too many moving parts. Even the trailer becomes a bit too hard to follow halfway through. Ratings continued to decline for the entirety of this NBC drama’s short run, and though it may not yet be official, The Player is liable to be another in a long-line of this year’s quickly forgotten misfires. [Update, 2/17/16: Per TV.com, NBC will not be renewing the show for a second season.]

Follow Jeff Rindskopf on Twitter @jrindskopf

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